It is the fall of 1943, and the city of Detroit is doing its best to recover from the explosive race riots that marked the recent summer. The police are working overtime to protect the auto plants and ensure that their massive machinery continues to churn out the steel that comprises America's lifeblood overseas. Pete Caudill, late of the Detroit detective squad, is passing the time sitting on the fire escape of a squalid rented room, consumed by the ghosts of his past, including the black teenager he shot and killed years ago and a similar boy whose life he saved in the recent riots.
When a young woman distantly connected to Caudill is murdered, her blood threatens to stain the reputation of the Lloyd family, scions of Detroit's all-powerful auto industry. Caudill himself has a certain reputation with the Lloyds, plus a direct link to the complicated man who runs the company and, some say, the city of Detroit itself.
As a desperate investigation unfolds and the war effort rages on, the tentacles of a menacing conspiracy reach deep into the soul of the powerful Lloyd family and threaten to squelch the very heart of American patriotism beating within. It's up to Pete Caudill, using whatever meager resources he can assemble, to put down the sinister forces working against the Lloyds, perhaps in the process preserve America's chances in the war--and discover an unexpected second chance at his own life.